Top government and Zanu PF officials on Tuesday descended on Kaseke Village, Uzumba, on a fact-finding mission after a Chinese mining company reportedly took over an entire village to extract black granite.
The delegation included Local Government minister July Moyo, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengwi, Mines deputy minister Polite Kambamura, Zanu PF acting Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Michael Madanha, the area’s traditional leader Chief Nyajina and Uzumba legislator Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, among others.
Chief Nyajina and Mudarikwa accused provincial mines officers of being “reckless” in granting Heijin Mining Company permission to operate in the area without following due procedure.
The mines officers had earlier submitted that at least 20 households would be affected by the Chinese miner’s activities much to the annoyance of Chief Nyajina, who accused the mines officers of misrepresenting facts to the delegation.
He said the number of affected households was more than 70.
Speaking to journalists in Uzumba, Kambamura admitted that there were some loopholes that led to the pegging of the mine on the village. He said:
We travelled here to hear the complaints from the villagers and that there were some irregularities in the way the claims were pegged. Miners operating here did not do enough consultations, so we have taken note of the grievances.
We are going to invite the miners and our officials who are working in this province to come to the ministry and explain what actually transpired in the issuance of those licences.
Heijin Mining Company has pegged the whole of Kaseke Village to extract the black granite from two nearby mountains.
The move has, however, faced resistance from the villagers and traditional leaders who have since approached the government to stop the operations.
The villagers, through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, are arguing that the mine was established without their consent.
Uzumba is one of ZANU PF’s support bases and the wrangle might prove costly to the ruling party considering that the 2023 general elections are nigh.
More: NewsDay Zimbabwe